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White House Will Have Another Go at YouTube Questions (Updated)

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, February 5 2010


Way back when, when we first started discussing what a smart, savvy, modern, wired, and engaged Obama White House would look like, someone in these parts (okay, was me) suggested that one of the things that the Internet might be great at is directly connecting the American people with not only the President, but the subject-matter experts and point people buried within the administration who really do hold answers to questions on how the government does its thing day-in-and-out. The web could, the thinking goes, flatten that administrative hierarchy in a way that might be useful, ultimately making government more accessible and inclusive.

Say you want to know what's really going on behind this morning's news that we've scrapped a long-controversial national animal ID tracking program. Your best bet isn't going to be Obama or Robert Gibbs. If you're the sort of person who cares about food safety agricultural monitoring (a slice of people that ranges to farmers to students to researchers to activists), then you're going to want to hear details from someone at, say, USDA. If you can find someone who actually knows about program and can explain the competing interests that went into the reversal. We might come away actually knowing something more about how farm policy works in the U.S. It might be wonderful.

Anyway, that's a long lead-in just to point you to the news that, as the Hill's Kim Hart reports, the White House has announced a second bite at the 14,000 YouTube questions that came in after Obama's State of the Union address. This time, the official answerees are policy staffers from the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, and the National Security Council. It starts in just about ten minutes, at 12:45pm EST, and you can watch it here.

Update: The staffers doing the answering will, it turns out, be the Domestic Policy Council's Heather Higginbottom, the National Economic Council's Brian Deese, and the National Security Council's Ben Rhodes.